Randolph-Henry places first in safety contest

Published 1:41 pm Thursday, June 16, 2016

By Halle Parker

The Charlotte Gazette

The Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) named Randolph-Henry High School the winners of its annual Arrive Alive campaign, calling attention to the school’s creative student-run social media campaign encouraging seat belt use. The campaign began on April 4 and ended May 7.

“Since teens like social media so much and the fact they were able to reach so many students by taking it not only in the school but posting it on Facebook and Twitter and so many of the social media sites,” said Mary King, YOVASO’s program director. “Just the fact that it engaged them outside of school, not only in school.”

Paving the way and organizing the school’s events was Be Leaders of Our Generation (BLOG), the newly formed student group. BLOG was created last year, sponsored by Karen Osborne, a Randolph-Henry teacher.

Through their social media campaign, the group asked students to post videos or pictures of interesting or funny ways to promote wearing seat belts to their friends and family. After reaching out to the community, they received local donations from businesses to give away as prizes for posts with the most likes or public engagement.

(Photo courtesy of YOVASO) Be Leaders of Our Generation (BLOG) students organized an “I am Dead” day for YOVASO’s Arrive Alive campaign.

(Photo courtesy of YOVASO) Be Leaders of Our Generation (BLOG) students organized an “I am Dead” day for YOVASO’s Arrive Alive campaign.

Outside of their social media project, King said YOVASO’s judges were also impressed by the students’ “I am Dead” day, describing the effect as “powerful.” BLOG members dressed in all black and wore signs to tell others how they died.

“The fact that it was student-led and students encouraging each other to be safe and just the sheer number of other things they did… (they) made it not only a school event, but reached out to the community to support it as well,” said King.

Randolph-Henry competed against over 40 other schools across the state.

King added, “We emphasize to these clubs that this is supposed to be a student-led and student-run club. They should be running it and coming up with the ideas with the guidance and support of their sponsors because teens are most likely to listen to them. They’re going to come up with the messages the teenagers are going to listen to more than we are. That’s how the program is structured, and Randolph-Henry did a great job with that.”